George Will is always a pleasure to read, but no more so than when he covers baseball. He uses his enviable skills to provide a kind of definitive surGeorge Will is always a pleasure to read, but no more so than when he covers baseball. He uses his enviable skills to provide a kind of definitive survey of Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field history. Even better is that book is not mere propaganda. Will doesn't seem to ascribe to the myths of his favorite team or the venue, instead approaching the subject with clever skepticism. This results in a book that would be welcome for most baseball fans, regardless of personal allegiance.
If the book has any flaw, it lies in the general organization of the text. Will flows freely between topics with little more than occasional section break. There are no chapters or central theme, which made it difficult for me to return to it at times after putting down. But it's not a major issue, and my issue could also be chocked up to a current state of exhaustion....more
This might be the most deeply researched baseball books I've read. Every page is sourced so well from primary sources, including interviews with WilliThis might be the most deeply researched baseball books I've read. Every page is sourced so well from primary sources, including interviews with Williams' family. Even better is that Bradlee doesn't succumb to hero worship, instead detailing a man and baseball player who was by turns funny, angry, and filled with doubt.
Most baseball biographies slog down somewhere in the middle as you read about yet another inter-changeable season. Bradlee avoids this grind, and his work is an accomplishment in the baseball canon....more
Let's just get this out of the way: ignore the poor writing and just enjoy the ride.
'Driving Mr. Yogi' is kind of an odd mash-up of different things,Let's just get this out of the way: ignore the poor writing and just enjoy the ride.
'Driving Mr. Yogi' is kind of an odd mash-up of different things, partially because it was expanded from a New York Times article by Araton about Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry's friendship. It's both a bare-bones biography of Berra and Guidry separately, which actually works better than the average baseball biography. Instead of being weighed down by minutiae, Araton is free to only have the best stories and the most pertinent facts.
It's also a story about Berra and Guidry's friendship, specifically during Spring Training, but it's also about Berra's place in the Yankee Universe. It also touches on and gives good insight into what it must be like being part of the storied family that is the Yankees organization. Although it has had some lean years, most especially during the 80's, the unbroken chain of history is probably strongest with the team from the Bronx.
None of the above bits are particularly remarkable in their own right, and have been covered numerous times (except for the Berra/Guidry connection) before. The most poignant part of the book has nothing to do with baseball.
Instead, it is the depiction of the aging process for Berra that stuck with me the most. Most of use have seen loved ones slowly decline both physically and mentally as they age, and it is a cruel process to witness. There's no stopping it, and it's going to happen regardless of whether you wore pinstripes or anything else. Araton captures the struggle of trying to manage the aging process gracefully, both for the aging and the caretakers.
It's a nice read overall, though probably best for either Yankee faithful or big baseball nuts....more
The best part of the book was the second half, when Dickson delves into the various axioms and general knowledge of the game. It's always interestingThe best part of the book was the second half, when Dickson delves into the various axioms and general knowledge of the game. It's always interesting to read the various quips associated with baseball throughout time, and Dickson digs deep. Overall, another good baseball book by the author, would definitely make a good gift for the baseball lover in your life....more
A collection should be judged by two main variables: the strength of its theme, and the strength of its contributors. Unfortunately, this book doesn'tA collection should be judged by two main variables: the strength of its theme, and the strength of its contributors. Unfortunately, this book doesn't particularly score high in either. Giving a blow-by-blow account of very good, if largely forgettable baseball players sounds tedious just as an idea, but in practice becomes even more tedious in the hands of the uneven talent level the book editors gathered. Some tales were actually good, and some were genuinely awful, but even some of the bigger name writers (such as Joe Posnanski) failed to deliver.
It's only available as an ebook, and regardless of the length it feels like a waste of $12. I'd feel more comfortable with recommend in if it was $5 or $6, but this may depend on your own tolerance of inanity....more